2. Emma Lazarus’ Handwritten Notebook

Even if you may not recognize Emma Lazarus’ name, you will likely recognize her most famous poem, The New Colossus, which reads in part, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This infamous phrase is inscribed on the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Written as a piece to be auctioned off to raise funds to build the statue’s pedestal, Lazarus also hoped that the poem would shed light on the plight of refugee immigrants. At the Center for Jewish History you will find a handwritten version of The New Colossus in a notebook that Lazarus created between 1877-1887. The poem is undated, but written at some point near the end of her life as she compiled a collection of her work. The entire notebook has been digitized and is available online!